Response to a Response to Mrs. Hall (FYI: if you're a teenage girl)

9:58 AMHeather

I read a blog post the other day written by someone named Mrs. HallIt was posted on Facebook.  I shared it on my wall.  Which says a lot--because I don't tend to do that unless I really stand behind the message.  I've since seen this blog post all over Facebook.  In case you missed it, go here to read up.   

In case you don't want to click over there, here's a synopsis.  The cliff notes version is that this mother of three boys is addressing teenage girls who post immodest or suggestive selfies.  She lets these girls know that her son's phones are monitored and these posts will lead to "unfollowing" said girl.  She makes a point about how boys receive these pictures, which may be not be as the girl intended.  

True that.  My husband and I are trying to raise our boys (one teen, one nearly teen) to guard their minds and eyes and heart.  And we, too, have been concerned about selfies or other photos girls post.  Maybe they really don't realize how visually wired boys are?  Maybe they do.  Either way--it is a huge concern of mine to continually direct my boys to live pure and God honoring lives in a sexually saturated culture.  

With me so far?  

This morning, I read this blog post.  It's a response to Mrs. Hall's blog post.  Okay--is this feeling like a "he said, and then she said, and then I was like" kinda blog post?  Bear with me.  I have a point.  Really. 

So the response was essentially making the point that parents of boys need to be teaching their sons self-control and respect for women.  To oversimplify, she says, "if we focus on raising our sons, rather than chastising other people’s daughters, it’s possible."

True that.  Yep.  I see your point as well.  

So, here's my two cents on this topic which seems to be hitting a lot of parents square between the eyes--based on the number of times I've seen these blogs shared on my Facebook feed.

Yes to you both.  YES, YES, YES on teaching my boys self-control and to respect girls and to not see them as sexual objects.  Of course!  And, believe me, I am not about pointing the finger (see my post on Miley Cyrus to see this point driven home).  When I throw my support behind Mrs. Hall's assertions, I am in NO WAY saying it's all the teenage girls' fault.   I am NOT saying girls are the ones to blame and my baby boys are innocent victims.

Here's the thing.  I don't know how the Halls are raising their boys.  I don't know them.  So, I don't want to speak for them.  Instead, I'll speak for myself.  I am the mom to two boys who is still laughing about the boy land I live in.  I was a prissy little girl.  With a sister.  I had NO idea about boys or how they thought or even, to be honest, how to act around them.  Then, BAM--the good Lord saw fit to give me two male children.  And I'm still on the learning curve.  

My husband helps tremendously here on offering me insight into boys.  As our boys have reached puberty, he has helped me understand that boys are very, very, very visually wired.  We are working hard over here to train our boys to have self-control and to respect and protect girls.  To see others as treasures and not objects.  To value every single human being and to build others up.  It's exhausting, I tell ya.  To try to train these guys toward the narrow path in this sex, sex, sex culture.  (I mean, really--do sexual innuendos really sell Jack in the Box sandwiches?)

But, it's important work.  It's kingdom work.  And we know--believe me--we know how insidious the enemy is when it comes to luring men and women into addictions to pornography or sexual sins.  We know people who have served prison time for this.  We know marriages that have fallen apart because of this.  We ain't playing when it comes to trying to keep our guys on the path of purity.  Not just until marriage, but for a lifetime.  

So, I love the point that Mrs. Hall is making.  Not pointing fingers, but as I interpret it, to say, "Hey girls.  Do you realize you are playing with fire?  Do you have any idea what these photos stir up in a guy? As I do my part to train my guys to self-control and respect for women, can you please do your part, too?  And maybe just be aware that this is cause for concern?"  Maybe girls don't know the effect these photos have on a teenage boy's mind.  And eyes.  And hormones.  Or maybe they do.  But either way--can you please be more mindful?  Can you try to help me in not causing a brother to stumble?  

I have never been more aware of this whole problem than when in the presence of my boys.  When everywhere I turn, I see cleavage and short short skirts and dresses and underwear ads and more "breastrants" than any community would ever need. 

And, yes, for the writer of the response to the Mrs. Hall blog.  YOU are right too.  I have a responsibility to my boys to remind them of THEIR responsibility to focus on their own issues and not just place blame on the girls because well, boys will be boys.  THAT is not my mentality at all, I tell ya.  My boys will be gentlemen.  This has been our expectation always.  And every day moving forward.

So to boil it down, here's how I see it.  If you know someone is a recovering alcoholic, would you constantly tempt and tease them with liquor or alcohol parading in front of their face?  Yes, they have a choice and must practice self-control. THEY have a responsibility, too.  But, you have a choice to be aware of not causing a brother to stumble.  You have a choice to be mindful of their weaknesses and to not continually poke and prod there.  It's taunting that is unnecessary.  And personally, as the mom of boys, I don't think well meaning girls (and adults for that matter) are as conscientious as they could be about helping this cause through modesty.  For their own well as the respect my boys are being taught to show them.

And, what's good for the goose is good for the gander.  As my Granny used to say.  I read a few comments on Mrs. Hall's blog.  Some affirming.  Some bashing her for posting a blog about modesty while including a photo of her sons on a beach, posing to show their muscles.  Interesting.  Point taken, from my perspective.  Funny.  I just told my boys last week that no one needs to see their abs posted all over Instagram or twitter or in a text message or anywhere else.  Six pack photos are thus forbidden.  Let's practice what we ask of others.  Let's not do weird suggestive faces or use the word "sexy."  Ever.  Because you are kids still and that's not appropriate.  Let's not sexualize things anymore than our culture is already doing.

So, in summation, here's my Switzerland answer.  I love both blog posts!  I see merit and truth in both sides of these posts.  And I really think you both have more in common than you'd imagine.  You both want the best for your kids.  And other people's kids.  And I'm with you both there.  Let's raise our boys to be kind, respectful, full of self-control.  Let's raise our girls to be modest and self-respecting.  Let's raise our kids to be introspective and self-aware and ever mindful of their own weaknesses.  Let's raise all of them to work on that plank in their own eye.  All the while, careful to not cause others to stumble.  Ever mindful of building others up.  Of how special and unique and wonderful each of us are as we are made in the image of Christ.  Let's raise all of them to post encouraging things or Scripture or affirming things rather than suggestive selfies or pictures with too much skin--boys AND girls.  Let's raise all of them to serve others.  To live to serve.  To listen with respect and dignity to others' opinions.  Agree or disagree--let's raise them all to see the value in every single person. Let's raise them all to put love for others first and to reserve judgment.      

That, my bloggy friends, is my response to the response to Mrs. Hall's response to the photos of girls she saw.  The end.

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